Witness in Co-Worker Case Claims Retaliation by Employer

August 26, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled for an employee who claims she was retaliated against by her employer after she was named a witness in another discrimination lawsuit against her employer.

In the case of Donna S. Jute vs. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., Jute claims she was removed from a special team at her job the day after she was named as a witness, Business Insurance reports.   She also claims she was denied a promised promotion and told she was no longer needed to instruct an evening aerobics class that provided supplemental income.

Jute said she was subjected to retaliatory actions over a two-year period.   She was fired as part of a post-merger reorganization, and claims she was “blackballed” from being hired with an affiliate company.

Since she never testified because the case was settled, the company argued that her involvement in the case was not enough to qualify her as a whistleblower and entitle her to whistleblower protections.

In its opinion, the court disagreed saying, “Accepting Hamilton’s argument would mean, for example, that an employer could freely retaliate against a Title VII whistleblower, as long as it did so before the employee actually testified,” Business Insurance reports.

The case was remanded for trial.